Jon Robinson

Jon Robinson

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Tuesday, 06 November 2012

iSys Label of Calgary, Alberta, signed Impresoras Digitales as its new distributor in South America for the EDGE 850 & APEX 1290 label-printing technologies.



Impresoras Digitales is located in Santiago, Chile. “They’re a full service and sales organization with excellent customer service skills and I’m very excited to add them to our team,” stated Randy Rickert, Director of iSys Label.

The EDGE 850 reaches printing speeds of up to 9.14 metres per minute for short-run label production on a range of die cut or roll substrates. According to iSys, the system is capable of printing 2,000 labels in less than 20 minutes – with finished roll ready for application.

Last week, iSys Label reached a technology and distribution agreement with UK-based Impressions Technology Europe. The two manufacturers have paired up the EDGE 850 with the Eclipse LF3 cutter.

Monday, 12 March 2012


In addition to its new HP Indigo 10000 press, described as a fourth-generation engine, HP today announced a series of productivity enhancements to its existing machines, which amounts to 10 new systems in total.

Indigo press enhancements
The company introduced three updated models of its current HP Indigo portfolio, all of which feature higher speeds with the Enhanced Productivity Mode (EPM), which is an emulation feature to eliminate the use of the black channel – resulting in a 33 percent increase in speed.

The new HP Indigo 7600 press, for example, has a top speed of 160 pages per minute (ppm) in EPM, which is described by the company as the fastest two-page electrophotographic press on the market. The Indigo 7600 also features an automated detection system to find print defects while running at speed, as well as new features to produce raised print (simulating embossing) and textured effects. This system also features a new light black ink for producing improved monochrome photo images.

The new HP Indigo 5600, an enhanced version of the HP Indigo 5500, has a top speed of 90 ppm in EPM, as well as a new one-shot mode for printing on synthetic substrates.

The new HP Indigo W7250 reaches a top speed of up to 320 ppm in EPM and 960 ppm in monochrome.


The HP Indigo 7600 press, in beta testing at six sites worldwide, will be commercially available at drupa. The HP Indigo 5600 is available immediately, and the HP Indigo W7250 will be available at drupa. HP says most new features will be offered as upgrades for existing HP Indigo models.

Inkjet Web Press enhancements
HP introduced three higher-speed Inkjet Web Press models based on new ink and printhead technology. HP Inkjet Web Presses have produced a total of more than 9-billion pages since the first system was installed in 2009.

The new HP T410 and T360 Inkjet Web Press systems offer increased print speeds of up to 800 feet per minute (fpm) in monochrome – up to 25 percent faster than previous models – while continuing to provide top colour print speeds of up to 600 fpm.

The new HP T230 Inkjet Press incorporates new printheads and inks to increase print speed up to 400 feet per minute for both colour and monochrome.

The HP T360 and HP T410 are expected to be available this fall as new systems or as upgrades from the HP T350 and HP T400, respectively. The HP T230, expected to be available by the end of 2012, will also be offered as an upgrade from the HP T200 press.  
 
Workfow and substrates
New workflow solutions include HP SmartStream Production Center for managing large job volumes, as well as updated versions of HP SmartStream Production Pro Digital Front End and HP SmartStream Director. HP also now offers HP Hiflex cloud-based software applications, including MIS and web-to-print solutions, as a result of its recent acquisition of Hiflex.


HP has added four HP Indigo preferred media partner agreements with Sappi, Avery Dennison, Mitsubishi and ArjoWiggins Graphics. The company already has over 3,000 certified media types for HP Indigo presses.

HP also introduced new media for its Inkjet Web Press models, such as Utopia Inkjet gloss media from Appleton Coated for direct-mail and publishing applications. ColorPRO papers will now include inkjet-coated papers from Sappi and Appleton Coated, designed to deliver superior print quality with the HP Inkjet Web Press.

HP Scitex white ink kit
HP introduced new options to improve the versatility and productivity of its HP Scitex wide-format systems, including a white ink kit and an automatic loader for the HP Scitex FB7500 and FB7600 machines.

The company also introduced a new version of HP SmartStream Production Analyzer for automatic monitoring of HP Scitex industrial wide-format presses.

Print module solutions

HP has introduced what it called Print Module Solutions for adding colour images, graphics and variable data to preprinted documents. Available in colour and monochrome, HP Print Module Solutions print up to 800 fpm and include full workflow software for integration with existing equipment. 


HP Print Module Solutions are expected to be available to order starting May 1.

Monday, 12 March 2012
Alon Bar-Shany, VP of Indigo, today drew a rare spontaneous applause from over 120 business journalists gathered in Tel Aviv, as he introduced a 29-inch-format digital press in the HP Indigo 10000.


The B2-size Indigo 10000 press unveiling took place on the first day of HP’s pre-drupa briefing in Israel. For the first time in several years, a development in toner presses seemed to steal the spotlight from inkjet. While HP abhors the classification of its Indigo presses as toner machines, because they print with liquid inks as opposed to solid toners, the new Indigo 10000 represents a sea change in the toner (electrophotography) press space.

Since arriving in the industry in the 1990s, electrophotographic presses have been stuck in a sub-20-inch format size largely because of the challenges – potential R&D and manufacturing costs – of expanding the all-important electro-photostatic drum, which forms the imaging heart of toner machines. The new Indigo 10000 marks the first salvo at one of commercial printing’s standard litho formats, while also presenting itself as a sudden competitor to the emerging cut-sheet inkjet presses of 29-inch format size.

“We believe this is going to take us into the heart of the offset market,” Bar-Shany told the crowd of journalists, speaking about the Indigo 10000 arrival, adding, “It is everything you expect from an Indigo but in a larger format.”

While the Indigo 10000 has been running with a printer in the UK and another in Japan, the new press will find its way into worldwide beta sites by the time Germany’s drupa tradeshow arrives in May, with an anticipated commercial release of the machine in early 2013.

Bar-Shany also introduced what he refers to as derivatives of the Indigo 10000 foundation, with the Indigo 20000 aimed at the flexographic sector of packaging and the Indigo 30000 aimed at the folding-carton sector. These machines are expected to be commercialized sometime after the Indigo 10000 hits the market next year.


The HP Indigo 10000 (750 x 530 millimeters/ 29.5 x 20.9 inches) prints 3,450 sheets per hour in its standard production mode, and can provide a 33 percent faster throughput of 4,600 colour sheets per hour using HP Indigo’s Enhanced Productivity Mode (EPM) – knocking out the black ink channel.

Scheduled for commercial availability in late 2013, the HP Indigo 20000 is a roll-to-roll press with a 30-inch media width and a 44-inch repeat length. With up to seven-colour printing, including white ink, the Indigo 20000 runs at 88.6 linear feet (27 linear metres) per minute in five-colour mode (full process colour plus white) and at 147.6 linear feet (45 linear metres) per minute when running in Enhanced Productivity Mode. An inline priming unit on the press is used for compatibility with most standard flexible packaging substrates from 10 to 250 microns thick.

The sheetfed HP Indigo 30000 press features a 29.5 x 20.9-inch (750 x 530-mm) format size with up to seven colour channels. Designed for the folding carton space, the press can handle substrates of up to 24 point or carton stocks of up to 600-microns thick. The press reaches a top speed of up to 3,450 sheets per hour in regular four-colour process printing, or 4,600 sheets per hour in Enhanced Productivity Mode.



Monday, 02 January 2012

Florida-based Baldwin Technology, which develops process-automation equipment and related consumables for the printing industry, signed an agreement to be acquired by Forsyth Baldwin LLC, which is a new company controlled by Forsyth Capital Investors.

The merger agreement also allows Baldwin’s board to solicit, receive, evaluate and enter into negotiations with respect to alternative proposals through January 28, 2012. If there is no superior offer, the Forsyth Baldwin transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012, subject to customary approvals and closing conditions.


“The transaction will improve Baldwin's financial strength and enable it to continue to operate effectively in its current markets and beyond,” stated Mark Becker, CEO of Baldwin. “Forsyth’s financial resources and management experience will accelerate the turnaround of Baldwin already underway. We believe this is a strong transaction for our stockholders, employees, customers and other partners.”

Under the agreement, Baldwin’s stockholders will receive $0.96 in cash for each share of Baldwin Class A or Class B Common Stock, subject to adjustment at closing based on certain criteria, including the extent that the difference between Baldwin’s aggregate cash balances and the balance of aged accounts payable is less than $1.8 million, provided that such adjustments cannot reduce the per share consideration below $0.90.

Monday, 19 December 2011

St. Joseph Communications has installed a new HP Indigo 7500 press at its Ottawa Print Centre. The Indigo 7500 is engineered for high-volume production with a monthly page volume rated at 3.5 million colour pages or 6.5 million monochrome pages, while reaching a top speed of up to 120 A4 pages per minute (ppm) in full colour or 240 ppm in either monochrome or 2 colours.



“The HP Indigo 7500 Printer allows us to meet the growing expectations of our current clients, while at the same time allowing us to bring new and exciting solutions to new and expanding markets,” said Pierre Ness, VP and GM of the St. Joseph Ottawa Print Centre. “The ever expanding role that web-based and mobile media play in our business and personal lives today has created a cultural shift in society’s expectations. Our programmers and developers are continually being challenged by our clients to provide new technology solutions for marketing and communications.”



After 15 years of working with the printing of variable data, St. Joseph states it has one of the largest digital printing platforms in Canada. The company will, in part, drive the new HP Indigo 7500 through its patented, Web-to-print applications. This includes U-Book, which is a personalized University recruiting magazine, and ESUBMITit, which is an end-to-end logistics solution currently used by various Canadian Federal Government departments.


Thursday, 01 December 2011


A week after filing for bankruptcy protection in an Augsburg court, German press maker manroland AG today secured a Euro 55 million credit facility to support its worldwide operations.

The provisional insolvency administrator Werner Schneider reached an agreement for what is referred to as “Massekredit,” which is similar to debtor-in-possession financing.



“Continuation of production and business operations at manroland is therefore secured. The company can continue to do business with customers and suppliers and we are sending a very positive signal to the market,” said Schneider, a financial auditor. “Immediate action was essential as an interruption of production does harm the company and makes the desired sales process more difficult.”

Earlier this week, Vince Lapinski, CEO of manroland North America, commented on how the filing will affect the company’s North American operations, based in Chicago with a satellite office in Toronto: “manroland North America is currently operating in a 'business as usual' status. We would like to assure the industry that manroland Inc. North America is fully operational, and we are continuing to provide the best possible service for our customer."


The new credit facility has a volume of Euro 55 million, which includes Euro 10 million in the form of a cash drawing facility. A further Euro 45 million is to be used as a “partial” mass credit in which the lending banks release part of the forgone loans. The release ensures the required liquidity without the banks having to provide new debt.


manroland states that the financing secures fulfillment of liabilities with customers and suppliers that have placed or received orders with manroland after the company has filed for insolvency. Liabilities originated before the filing will be dealt with as part of the insolvency proceedings later in the process.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Calgary-based Emerson Clarke, led by Len Knight, Rich Berg and Dave Smith, becomes the first commercial printing company in Canada to purchase Kodak’s recently introduced NexPress SX3300 press.

The new press, purchased through Coast Paper (a division of PaperlinX Canada), is integrated with an optional long sheet feeder, which allows for working with a 14 x 26-inch sheet, while the standard feeder works with a size of 14 x 20.47 inches.

“We were losing a lot of the bigger digital jobs because our printer was just too small,” said Len Knight, Operations Manager of Emerson Clarke, who is a partner in the company with Rich Berg and Dave Smith. Emerson Clarke also runs offset presses, including a five-colour, 29-inch press with a coater.

The NexPress SX3300 has been fitted with Kodak’s Print Genius image processing and a fifth imaging unit, which allows for watermarking, protection coating, glossing, MICR printing, gamut expansion, red fluorescing ink for security applications, and in-line dimensional printing.

According to Kodak, the NexPress SX platform prints on more than 700 standard offset substrates, including coated, uncoated, FSC, plastics, magnets, linens, static clings, and micro-perforated substrates. It is rated for a monthly duty cycle of up to 4.4 million pages and hits printing speeds of 91, 109 or 131 ppm when printing on 26-inch long sheets.



Monday, 22 August 2011


The Alberta Rural Development Network is providing NorQuest College with eight $1,000 subsidies to be used for its 4-day Executive Forum, which begins on September 28 at the Banff Centre.


The subsidies are available to any printing company located in rural Alberta, which excludes operations located within the corporate limits of Edmonton or Calgary. They will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis and remitted to participants when the workshop is complete. The total cost of the workshop is $1,390 before September 2 and then $1,690 after the early-bird rate.

“[Alberta Rural Development Network] recognizes the value of having printers within Alberta’s rural communities and this is their way to support companies in those communities to take part in a world-class educational event,” said Josh Ramsbottom, Principal of NorQuest’s Centre for Excellence in Print Media, which is organizing the event. “ARDN, I believe, has recognized the importance print has within Alberta and I am very thankful of their support of the industry.”

NorQuest’s Executive Forum is to be led by Heidelberg’s Print Media Academy (PMA). The 4-day PMA workshop in Banff is not centered around Heidelberg technologies, but rather on professional development for owners and managers in the print industry.

The Alberta Rural Development Network is a non-profit partnership of Alberta’s 21 publicly funded and governed colleges, universities, and technical institutes, which aims to support and enhance rural development in the province.


More information about the subsidies is available by contacting NorQuest’s Michelle Braun at 780-644-6480 or by email


Monday, 15 August 2011

Tassos Siriopoulos founded Tower Litho Co. in 1971 with a single-colour press and 750 square feet on The Danforth. Now led by his sons, Dino and Paul, the trade-only shop runs three 40-inch Heidelbergs, a 28-inch perfector and full finishing.



“Growing up with a craftsman and perfectionist was a challenging experience at times,” writes Dino Siriopoulos, in a document describing Tower’s 40-year rise in Toronto's printing market. “I remember working the summers at Tower Litho when I was 13 years old. Indeed, it was not the most pleasing memory considering all my friends were playing outside and I was inside making boxes and sweeping floors.” 



Paraphrasing his father’s advice from those early days, Dino Siriopoulos then describes what he refers to as valuable lessons in both life and character: “Work and do your best and the rewards will come, without taking any shortcuts. Don’t look for the rewards, just look to do a good job.”



Tower Litho has been a referral-based business for the past 40 years, which is why the Siriopoulos brothers are still comfortable in describing their operation as trade-only despite the blurring customer lines of today’s marketplace.



The company is now housed in a 25,000-square-foot facility, which Tassos moved into back in 1989. Tower actually only reached a maximum employee level of nine, including five family members, over its first 20 years. Paul and Dino joined the company soon after university and have been instrumental in Tower’s growth for the past two decades. 



“We all worked and considered the company as our company, not my dad’s job,” writes Dino Siriopoulos.



The company now employs over 40 people and lists several clients who have been bringing Tower work for more than 20 years. Today, Tower is fully colour managed and runs a significant amount of its work at 400-lpi, based on Heidelberg’s hybrid-screening technology. The company’s finishing department holds over 10 pieces of machinery, including a 4-pocket Muller Martini saddle stitcher, a 6-pocket Heidelberg ST-100 stitcher, three Stahl folders, and Polar and Lawson cutters.


“Our father still comes in the shop every day and the three of us have lunch together and discuss Tower Litho, amongst other topics,” writes Dino, who recalls the times he boarded a bus with his mother to bring Tassos dinner after the shop first opened. “The family atmosphere still and always will prevail.”



Tuesday, 16 August 2011


Last week at its facility in Illinois, Fujifilm North America hosted journalists and analysts for a hands-on look at its new J-Press 720 technology. First unveiled at drupa 2008 in Germany, the J-Press 720 is a B2-format, sheetfed-based inkjet press that Fujifilm is aiming at the commercial-printing market.

After announcing its commercial availability in late-2010 at the Graph Expo trade show, Fujifilm last week announced that Gilson Graphics of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is scheduled to install North America’s first J-Press 720 sometime this Fall. Fujifilm installed the continent’s first J-Press at its own facility back in May. Fujfilm indicates there are currently three J-Press beta sites in Japan.

With around 160 employees and US$23 million in annual sales, Gilson is a medium-sized commercial printing company running three 40-inch manroland presses, toner-based Indigo presses for colour, which it got into in the late-1990s, and wide-format machines from Fujifilm, HP and Mimaki.

The J Press 720 is built around a Fuji Dimatix inkjet engine with 17 Samba piezo-electric print-heads – each holding 2,048 nozzles – allowing for 4-colour process printing of water-based inks. The 20.8 x 29.5-inch format press currently runs at a single speed of 2,700 B2 sheets per hour, while producing a maximum resolution of 1,200 by 1,200 dots per inch – four greyscale levels.



The machine employs a pre-coating unit to handle both coated and uncoated stock, in a range from 70-lb text up to 14-point board. After the work is dried by six halogen lamps and heating elements, the J Press 720 relies on a CCD camera to read a test bar (one colour per sheet) and analysis nozzle effectiveness. The J Press 720 ships with Fujifilm’s XMF workflow.